This week, ICANN is kicking off its second internet governance-focused public meeting of the year in Helsinki, Finland. FairWinds will be traveling back to northern Europe for the second time in two months, having also attended the Global Domains Division (GDD) Summit in Amsterdam this past May.
Like the May meeting, this meeting is also being billed as a “summit;” though, this time it is a summit focused purely on internet governance policy work. It will be shorter in duration that typical ICANN meetings and the agenda will set aside extended periods of time for policy development working groups to hold face-to-face meetings. This meeting will also feature for the first time “cross-community sessions,” which are designed to gather input from multiple parts of the community on policy matters. This effort appears to be an attempt to push back against the trend ICANN geared heavily toward in recent years, where the community is divided into silos and emergent policies are not shared across different divisions until later stages.
This new meeting format, along with the creation of “intercessional” meetings like the GDD Summit, reflects ICANN’s ongoing attempts to figure out how to deal with the influx of new stakeholders with increasingly diverse interests that have joined the internet governance community as a result of both the New gTLD Program and the IANA transition. In recent years, the three annual public meetings have become increasingly packed with various activities and initiatives beyond policymaking, resulting in schedule overload for many participants. The majority of those who participated in the GDD Summit reflected positively on the summit’s shorter duration and narrow focus on matters specifically related to gTLD registries and registrars; hopefully, the tighter policy focus of this week’s meeting in Helsinki will prove equally productive.
We’re looking forward to a great week and will report back with updates as needed. Please follow up with your FairWinds Consultant if you have any questions about this ICANN meeting and follow us on Twitter for information and insights from the ground.
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